NHL notes: Kovalchuk threatens to remain in Russia if NHL cuts his pay

SKA St. Petersburg's Ilya Kovalchuk skates with teammates during their Kontinental Hockey League...

SKA St. Petersburg's Ilya Kovalchuk skates with teammates during their Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) game against Dynamo in Moscow September 23, 2012. (REUTERS)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:58 AM ET

New Jersey Devils winger Ilya Kovalchuk is adamant he will stay in Russia if a new collective bargaining agreement allows teams to cut salaries.

"I can play in the KHL for the whole year and I'll do it with great pleasure," Kovalchuk told Sportbox.ru.

"I am glad that no matter where we play we get a full house and very good support from the spectators. And it's also nice to play on a good team.

"Basically, I don't rule out staying in Russia in the case of a reduction of our salaries in the NHL."

Kovalchuk, 29, has seven goals and 13 assists in 11 games for SKA St. Petersburg, where he is playing during the lockout.

Two years ago, Kovalchuk signed a 15-year deal with the Devils worth $100 million US.

"I just don't understand why they needed to sign such contracts," he said. "Or were they just hoping to cut the percentage later?

"I believe that the contracts must be respected and this is a fundamental question. There's no way the (union and players) will agree on the wage reduction."

Kovalchuk said he has been discussing the issue with fellow NHLers Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Malkin, Pavel Datsyuk and Ilya Bryzgalov.

"We are all happy here (in the KHL). If the conditions in the NHL will be unclear, many guys will think twice whether to return there or not."

ALFIE AT EASE AWAY FROM RINK

Almost two weeks into what was supposed to be the start of his 17th NHL season, Daniel Alfredsson is becoming quite comfortable with life away from pro hockey.

So comfortable, in fact, that he's prepared to accept retirement now -- if it is indeed in the cards.

"I think the longer it has been going here, I don't feel as eager to get back," the 39-year-old Ottawa Senators captain said regarding the lockout.

"I'd say I'm more relaxed. If it happens, it happens."

Alfredsson has been skating with his union brothers in Ottawa a couple of times a week and also enjoying his new routine as a stay-at-home dad.

"I can't say I've at all been frustrated or really looking forward to coming to the rink," he said. "I love it when I'm on the ice and I have fun but, at the same time at this stage, I know I have to look forward as well."

KANE HEADS TO SWITZERLAND

Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks has signed with EHC Biel of Switzerland's top league, the team announced Tuesday.

Kane, whose contract will run through the end of the Swiss season or until the NHL lockout ends, will join Boston Bruins centre Tyler Seguin with EHC Biel.

Kane,23, had 23 goals and 43 assists in 82 games for the Blackhawks last season.

KOSTITSYN LIKES U.S., REALLY

Sergei Kostitsyn backtracked Tuesday after allegedly saying he wanted the lockout to continue for the entire season -- which would allow him to remain in the KHL -- while taking a swipe at the U.S.

"Let's put it this way: It would be better (for the players) if the lockout continues," Kostitsyn 25, was quoted as saying Monday to Russian newspaper Sport Express. "Players want a definite answer. If the NHL season is lost, let it be that way. I would then play in Russia for the whole season."

The Nashville Predators forward, who has been playing with Avangard Omsk of the KHL, also was quoted as saying he "couldn't get used to (the American) mentality. They are totally different from us."

on Tuesday he told The Tennessean: "I just want to say I really enjoy America and Nashville.

"We all want to get back to hockey in the NHL and a full year and an 82-game season, but we need to reach a deal that is fair and we need to respect contracts that are already signed. It's only fair. But if we have to, we will sit out the whole year."

BRIEFLY

Winnipeg Jets forward Evander Kane has been suspended for one game for a check to the head in a KHL game Monday. Kane, 21, who plays for Dinamo Minsk, drew the ban for a hit on Avangard Omsk defenceman Nikita Pivtaski. Kane has no points in six games ... Dinamo Riga defenceman Mathiew Carle drew a two-game suspension for making physical contact with a referee in a game Monday night. Carle, 25, has spent most of the past five seasons in the AHL ... Boston Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask, who was playing for HC Plzen of the Czech Extraliga, left after one period in a game Tuesday because of an apparent groin injury. Rask, 25, had groin problems last season and the move was seen as precautionary ... Philadelphia Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren expects that defenceman Andrej Meszaros, who tore an Achilles tendon in August, will be ready to play in December. Meszaros, 27, is out of his walking boot and doing rehab, Holmgren told CSN Philadelphia ... Former Minnesota Wild defenceman Kurtis Foster has signed with Tappara of the Finnish league. Foster, 30, is an unrestricted free agent in the NHL ... One day after NHLers Chris Stewart and Wayne Simmonds left the team to move up one division, Crimmitschau of the German second division has signed Toronto Maple Leafs forward Clarke MacArthur.


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